Stourbridge (155): Opening

Waitrose opened their 55th store in Stourbridge, West Midlands, on July 1st 1975, in a new large shopping centre called Ryemarket. At the time only half of the 42 units were finished, including Woolworths and Boots.

The new store had 13,200 sq ft and was the largest Waitrose to open at the time. The precinct also benefits from a multi-storey car park for up to 400 spaces and a lift bringing customers close to the entrance, as reported at the time, in The John Lewis in-house magazine, The Gazette.

A detailed description of the “moving bar” customer checkouts was also included in the article, suggesting it was in its early days of introduction.

Another innovative feature of this new store was the self-service, self-checkout wine shop, that allowed the customer to select and pay for their own wine within a separate area.

Stourbridge also had a new “pet bar”, that sold everything from bird food to hamster food.

The introduction of the metal, rather than wood, shelving was also noted in the opening article, commenting how light and adaptable they were.

Cardboard boxes were also available for customers to use to pack their shopping, rather than the plastic bags we’re more familiar with today!

At the time of opening there was a total number of 90 Partners, recruitment was “easy” with four applicants per vacancy.

Facilities currently available at Stourbridge include fresh cheese, fish, meat, delicatessen, patisserie and bakery counters. There is also flower wrapping, dry cleaning and click and collect.

Address: Ryemarket, Stourbridge, West Midlands, DY8 1HJ

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